Meet the Terminator Tesla

Well, the future is here and we still don’t have all the way-out stuff they promised us in The Jetsons. Still, the every man’s robot car (though it may not be able to fly) might be here before too long.

Tesla (granted not the everyman’s car—the Roadster starts at about $100,000) already offers an autopilot. Recently, three people (apparently with nothing better to do) drove across the US in 58 hours in a Tesla with the autopilot on virtually the whole way.

A Tesla may not be as unstoppable as a terminator, but clearly it has a mind of its own.

Hard to ask for a starker demonstration than the Tesla stunt to show that our roads are on the cusp of being crowded with autonomous vehicles—driving the kids to school, delivering toilet paper from Walmart, and ferrying college students home after the frat party.

So what’s the hold up?

For one thing, car makers have been agonizingly slow rolling out new technologies, though encouragingly, driverless cars were scene stealers at the latest Tokyo auto show.

Another issue–how to deal with the legal issues surrounding self-driving? Presently, autonomous driving is largely legal because there aren’t a lot of laws against it. That could change, a government report lays out a number of challenges to giving everybody a robot car. That could well prompt Washington to step in and write more laws.

Security is another factor. Hackers are already hacking all the computers in our cars.

All these worries aside, we will probably be safer and more productive racing around in autonomous autos.

As long as they don’t go all Skynet on us, we should be fine.

The sooner we get to the future the better.